Visa woes

Between them, the UK Government, the Department of Home Affairs in South Africa and the British Consulate in Pretoria have conspired against me.
I’m not sure in what proportions the blame should be meted out, but I’m going to have a go. In more ways than one. 

First off, the UK Government. For once, I think they are pretty blameless in this one. All they have done is to extend the list of countries whose citizens need a visa to enter the UK. Unfortunately, South Africa is now on that list (along with 75% of the world’s countries). This is to help prevent terrorists and smugglers from entering the country, probably as part of their “Jobs for Brits” policy: after all, why import terrorists when you have a roaring trade going producing your own?

Secondly, the Department of Home Affairs. This Department has a terrible reputation, which is almost entirely justified. Of all the Government Departments, Home Affairs is the one which elicits the most laughter, anger and sheer disbelief as to how bad an organisation can be. And they must take their share of the blame in this sorry tale. Their security and systems areso bad that anyone can get a South African passport – hence the UK’s concern over who is getting a South African passport.
Of course – if you go the legal route to getting a South African passport, you end up buried under an avalanche of red tape from which it will take you a good few months to escape.
The UK, of course doesn’t have this issue: passports there are completely safe and secure. Right.

But, I’m putting 0.5% of the blame of the UK Government and about 2% on Home Affairs. Why? Because I’m saving it all for the real culprits.
The extra R3,000 that it’s going to cost to take my family across to the UK in July is solely down to the utterly useless ****s at the British Consulate in Pretoria.
Thanks to them losing our (original) documents when we applied for a passport for the boy, we can no longer proceed with that application, nor one for the girl. Getting replacement documents means going through the Department of Home Affairs – and you may have heard what a reputation they have in South Africa.
And thus, because we can’t get the documents which they lost from the Department of Home Affairs, we have had to apply for South African passports for the kids through – the Department of Home Affairs.

A brief pause while I bang my head against a brick wall. Ah – such sweet relief.

The worst bit is that despite the fact that the British Consulate have prevented us from obtaining passports for the kids by being useless, they are rewarded by us paying them some more money for the privilege of taking my (half-British) kids to Britain. And this despite the fact that they will have a combined age of just less than 4 when we go over. And very limited bomb-making expertise. Probably.
It’s insult to injury, it’s salt in the wound, it’s a kick in the balls. None of which are particularly pleasant.
One could draw some interesting parallels to the bunch of merchant bankers in the UK getting bonuses for being rubbish at the jobs.

14 thoughts on “Visa woes

  1. If your wife already has an UK entry clearance stamp in her passport, then the visa will be waived (although July might be a little late, may have to check on that).

  2. Um. Arrrgh. Is all I can say.

    This sucks. If I leave the UK it will be such a pain to visit family.

    po´s last blog post was: Sad Po (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  3. Oh you have my sympathies. I’ve been waiting for 5 months for a full Birth Cert from Home Affairs and the excuses given for the delays are mind boggling and all the while my deadline to apply for Canadian Permanent Residence looms ever nearer.

  4. Ah that sucks! Didn’t realise the implications for British born expats when i first read about it. The mind boggles. Seriously think there needs to be some kind of rethink. From a first generation SA who never bothered to get a British passport when it was easy … Sorry kids! 🙁

  5. Reflex > I will check. Thanks. She does have a stamp, but it was from a while back.

    Po > So don’t leave! 🙂

    Rob > K-pu’s SA passport is ready! 3 weeks!
    My son’s birth certificate took 18 months though. Hope yours is quicker.

    Val > I doubt they’ll change this ruling. Even if SA get biometric passports.

  6. I know exactly how you feel! When we were living in the UK, we went on a short cruise to Norway with our 3 month old boy. He was born in London and had an Aussie passport, his mum was on an Aussie passport wit a full UK work permit and I was on my Italian passport. When we arrived back (in Newcastle), customs wanted to know where the boy’s visa was!!? I was stunned! What was he going to do? Work illegally? Claim benefits? After 15 minutes of arguing, they agreed to let him back into the country but threatened to blacklist his passport if he travelled again.

    At that stage it was GBP500 for a visa for him, so I applied for an Italian passport instead and 3 weeks and GBP25 later he could legally stay in the UK. Now that’s what I call red tape!

    DelBoy´s last blog post was: Victoria burns – update (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  7. Hmmm, just saw that the previous entry clearance exemption is going to be in place until end of June.
    If you are coming out in July then I guess it’s visa time for everyone in your family.

    Is there no way you could get your kids british passports in the short space of time there is between now and your trip?
    Although that will be almost as expensive (if not more) as getting the Visas.

  8. Wiggy > Your sympathy is appreciated.

    Delboy > Brilliant story! 🙂 I’m wondering whether my two are classed as terrorists or smugglers.

    Lady Fi > It does and it is.

    Reflex > Balls. And no – can’t get the UK passports – read the post. British Consulate in Pretoria ****ed up my life. Actually – OUR LIVES. Grr.

  9. [comment deleted by blog author]

    Wiggy > Sorry Dude – I can’t talk about that right now. Or allow you to. 🙁

    Wiggy´s last blog post was: Blog traffic sites (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  10. I’m going over to London for a coupla days business and just hoping over to France for a weekend to go to a good old friends wedding… the amount of work to do for VISAS is mind blowing…!!!! I didn’t have to do more than this for my bond, overdraft, credit cards and home purchase combined… the world has really started to turn stupid…. beaurocracy leads to reverse darwinism, and to the universe slowly pulling back to implosion… haha…

  11. Stevie > My thoughts exactly.
    And if the British Consulate hadn’t lost my marriage certificate, I would only need to do this once.
    And only pay once, too.

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